Apropos of mural decoration and constructive composition in general, I would remark, unfortunately in these days there are painters who, lacking the imaginative faculty—partly because of the neglect to use it—like the tailless fox in the fable, endeavour to impress on the over-credulous student the futility of attempting any forms of painting that may soar beyond a lively representation of Nature as she is arranged and unadorned. There are, or should be, as many kinds of art as there are temperaments ; and the highest is not beneath you. Greece and Italy stand intellectually and vesthetically pre-eminent among the nations by reason of the great monumental outcome of their genius. What, you might well ask, would be their real place in the hierarchy of art had their great masters stopped short at the empirical so characteristic of the soulless realist ? This is not said to belittle sincere attempts to discover, for the enjoyment of the uninitiated, the beauties, great or modest, that abound, and for the reproduction of which some men are endowed with special ability.<< Previous page
Born experimentalists like Monet or Sorolla y Bastida—I regret having to name living painters, but their efforts are so typical of the newer schools of thought that my remarks would be pointless without such aid—evince an extraordinary insight and analytical power ; but an unrelieved army of experimentalists in paint, like the locusts in Egypt, would too easily exhaust the already narrowing field ; and, moreover, many of these attempts at the impossible are technically unsound. Their problems appear to be solved while their paint is fresh, and when that goes nothing worthy remains ; for these solutions are in the nature of studies, with no real aesthetic foundation. Indeed, there is little more of this essential, which should form the base of every true picture, than is to be found in the average snapshot photograph.
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